If you've ever asked yourself or someone else "How will the proposed Streetcar system help me if I don't live in Downtown, OTR, or Uptown?" then please check out THIS POST on Urbancincy that helps answer that question nicely.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Its amazing what you miss when you're busy moving instead of blogging...
The University of Cincinnati will be hosting a discussion about streetcars from the perspective of officials from other cities with streetcar systems already in place. They will be presenting information on the obstacles, strategies, and benefits of building streetcar systems. They will also be answering questions. The event is from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Tangeman University Center at the University of Cincinnati campus. Registration information can be found here: http://www.uc.edu/conferencing/Details.asp?ConferenceID=299
This should be a great event. I hope it gets some good press coverage and a good turn out from the community. I'm going to try to make it myself so that I can provide a summary of what was discussed.
The Cincinnati Enquirer printed an article today highlighting all the positive things that have happened with the Over the Rhine revitalization efforts over the past year and a half. It is very refreshing to see this neighborhood finally getting the respect it deserves and no longer being constantly touted as a wasteland.
They also highlighted some of the topics covered in yesterday's Over the Rhine Chamber of Commerce annual meeting. One of the speakers, John Barrett, said a few interesting things at the meeting that I wanted to point out. First, he said that "I think this city is low on vision, and our desire to execute frequently results in mediocre results rather than world-class results." I agree with this. The streetcar issue is a perfect example. A lot of people in our city lack the vision necessary to see the potential the streetcar will bring for changing our downtown.
Mr. Barrett believes that a thriving downtown must be a priorty and he made some good suggestions about what we need to do to begin transforming our downtown more rapidly. I'll let you read the article for yourself for those.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
City Beat posted an article yesterday about the city council's proposal to change zoning laws for social service agencies that would help regulate new construction and expansion of existing facilities.
The article gives the impression that city council is trying to avoid future conflicts with social service groups like what happened with CityLink recently. They are trying to protect manufacturing zones as areas that should be used for creating new jobs, not warehousing homeless individuals.
This brings up the opportunity to start a discussion about whether or not organizations such as City Link are really the answer to helping to fix the problem of homelessness in Cincinnati. It seems to me that these sort of projects overlook the root of the problem and simply serve as a dumping ground for the suburban communities who don't want to see homeless individuals in their own backyard. I believe that improving public schools, graduation rates and college attendance would give better results at reducing the number of homeless individuals in the long run than projects like City Link. Additionally, creating new jobs and strengthening the local economy would go a long way in insuring these people have a viable future.
I'd really be interested in hearing how others feel about this issue. I'm still learning and trying to figure out where I stand with this.
How do you feel about City Link?
What do you think needs to be done about the homeless problem in downtown and OTR?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I just caught word of what sounds like an interesting way to learn more about OTR. Inner:City Tours has put together a Podcast tour of Over the Rhine!
From CincyFringe.com: "Inner:City is a guided walking tour through the spaces between the Fringe venues and a comic exploration of the theater inside all of our heads. Participants will download a podcast onto their own iPods which will lead them on a multimedia odyssey through a neighborhood rich in theater history. This site-specific audio installation will invite its audience into the stories of this neighborhood in a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience that is one part video-game-without-the-screen and one part performance art installation, with just a dash of The daVinci Code."
There are a TON of great things going on over the next couple of weeks with the Fringe Festival so go check them out! There's even a mural being painted "live" on the South side of the Know Theatre building by a group of local artists.
Also, Check out Soapbox Cincinnati's Article about the Fringe Festival Here
This one sounds pretty interesting too!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
GO OTR RUN/WALK KICKS OFF A DAY OF CELEBRATION IN THE GATEWAY QUARTER
Visit OTR’s hottest district Saturday May 31 for something to do all day and night
Fast runners can complete the Go OTR 5K Run/Walk in a matter of minutes. But this event is about way more than just turning in a fast time!
The second annual Go OTR 5K is just the beginning of a day and night filled with great things to do in Over-the-Rhine’s (OTR) Gateway Quarter and a chance to experience the renaissance that’s taking place in Cincinnati’s most historic and beautiful neighborhood.
The Go OTR 5K is Saturday May 31 and benefits the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. Day of registration opens at 9 a.m. in the public parking lot at 12th and Vine streets. Pre-register for the race at www.otrchamber.com or call 513-241-2690. Mayor Mark Mallory will officially begin the race at 10:05 a.m.
Before sending runners and walkers on their way through the 3.2 mile course that travels past much of Over-the-Rhine’s breathtaking historic architecture and provides a glimpse of the revitalization taking place in OTR, Mayor Mallory will declare it “Live, Shop & Play in the Gateway Quarter Day” in Cincinnati.
“Over-the-Rhine has been transformed in the last few years, and the 5K is a perfect opportunity to take a new look at the thriving historic community,” Mayor Mallory said. “The community is truly coming alive as a perfect example of all that is great about urban living.”
The Gateway Quarter is a district in Over-the-Rhine that encourages and celebrates city living. It includes new and renovated loft-style condominiums, locally owned and operated restaurants and shops catering to urban lifestyle and architecture and innovative theater and arts venues from classical to cutting edge. For more information, visit www.gatewayquarter.com.
This year’s Go OTR 5K coincides with the one year anniversary of the original three stores in the Gateway Quarter: Park + Vine, a green general store at 1109 Vine St., Metronation, which sells contemporary home furnishings, clothes and gifts at 1213 Vine St., and City Roots, an urban garden store at 1133 Vine Street. Since that time, the Quarter has grown to include four additional stores and several restaurants and bars including Lavomatic, Jean Robert DeCavel’s newest bistro.
All of the stores will be open and offering a variety of specials following the Go OTR 5K as the expected 750-plus runners, walkers and volunteers as well as their families, friends and OTR neighbors gather for an after-party at the 12th and Vine parking lot featuring food, music and awards. Race awards are specially designed by Rookwood Pottery.
In addition to shopping, Gateway Quarter condo tours will be available through the sales office located across from the parking lot at 12th and Vine. This is a great opportunity to get a look at the amazing renovations going on inside some of our city’s most historic buildings. Over two-thirds of the 43 condos in historic buildings are already sold and another 107 are or will soon be under construction. Those new homes include nine lofts developed by Urban Sites in a building called “Trideca” at 1232 Vine St., which will be completed in early June. Trideca will be open for tours on Saturday May 31.
And as Saturday evening sets in, there’s no need to head home. The Fringe Festival, a collaborative arts festival that includes theatre, dance, music, poetry, visual art, film and everything in between runs May 27 to June 7. The Fringe Festival is sponsored by Know Theatre of Cincinnati, located at 1120 Jackson St. in OTR. For a complete Fringe Festival schedule visit www.cincyfringe.com.
And the Art Academy of Cincinnati, 1212 Jackson St., is sponsoring SOS ART 2008 an art show that includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, installations, poetry readings, movies, music, performances and discussions on current issues of peace and justice. On Saturday may 31, the show is open from 7-10 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
GO OTR 5K RUN/WALK
EVENT: 2nd annual Go OTR 5K
DATE: Saturday May 31
LOCATION: Gateway Quarter, 12th and Vine parking lot
TIME: 10 a.m.
SPONSORS: The Model Group, PNC Bank
ENTRY FEE: $10 pre-registration/$15 day of the race (both include T-shirt and gift bag)
Proceeds benefit Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING: Just north of downtown, one block from Central Parkway at the corner of 12th and Vine Streets. Parking is available in the Gateway Garage, accessible from Central Parkway or 12th Street.
REGISTRATION: www.otrchamber.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 513-241-2690
*This post is from a press release by the 3CDC
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
This is old news for a lot of you, but I just found out about this today. Avril-Bleh and Sons Meat Market, which has been in business since 1894, is opening a grocery store next to its Court street meat store. This is absolutely wonderful news for OTR residents who currently have to drive out of downtown to get groceries that aren't found at Findlay Market. They may be open as early as this week. I'm going to be stopping by to take a look soon and will post pictures and updates as I come across them.
Dave Menninger's Article
I just took a quick bike ride over there (at about 8:45pm) and they were open with people inside. I didn't go in because I didn't have a bike lock with me, but I'll be sure to take a trip there soon and see what they have in stock.
Again, I'd like to apologize for the lack of posts. I've finally gotten to a point in the moving where I now have access to internet, so its time for a new post. I wanted to direct everyone's attention to this blog: Saving the Meiner Flats Danny Klingler has been working very hard to gather funding and support from the city and local developers to prevent the Meiner Flats building at 1500 Vine in Over the Rhine from being demolished. The building has been abandoned for quite sometime and its current owners have let it fall into a state of such disrepair that the city has ordered it to be demolished if it is not brought back to code promptly. The building is a beautiful 4 story walk up with an intricate stone facade built by a family of local stone workers in 1875 to advertise for their business. It is one of the tallest buildings in Over the Rhine and would be a great loss to the neighborhood if not saved. The effort has caught the attention of many national and local news organizations such as NPR: "What will Americans do with their tax rebate?"
Also, Channel 9
and Preservation Magazine
Danny has been in touch with multiple potential developers and city officials that are in support of saving the building from demolition. He is asking for donations to go towards saving it and to show the city that there are lots of people in support of the effort. Please consider donating whatever you can. Even small donations can go a long way towards showing support for the building.
Donations can be made here: DONATIONS
Please see Danny's website for details about where the donations will go and what will happen if they are not used.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I must apologize for the recent lack of activity on this website. The last two weeks I have been in the process of moving from our home in Michigan to our new place in OTR. I have had very little time to do anything other than unpack. Additionally, we still don't have internet service running at our new place so I have been spending very little time online.
Anyway, I will be back in business early next week and I promise to start posting some new interesting articles at that time. Thanks for your patience.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Peter Bronson recently published an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer about his short-sited views on the Streetcars. He reported a very biased review of the Streetcar Debate hosted by the Blue Chip Young Republicans between Councilman Chris Bortz and Chris Monzel. In this article he continues to harp on the argument that there will not be enough ridership to cover the costs of the annual operations. Though this may be true based on CURRENT population studies, what they have failed to acknowledge is the fact that streetcars attract many new residents. Its obvious that once the streetcars are being built and start being used the population of OTR, Downtown, and Uptown neighborhoods are expected to increase drastically. Opponents of the plan have very conveniently overlooked this important fact.
Additionally, his article completely failed to offer any alternatives for boosting our urban core and attracting people back to the heart of the city. At best they say that "neighborhoods want more police." Sure, lets spend $185 million on the police department and see what results from that. I'm sure people will just start flocking to the neighborhood after that!
Please take the time to write Peter Bronson at email@example.com and let him know that his arguments are flawed and that the city of Cincinnati truly does want streetcars in its neighborhoods!
Here are some examples of the kind of ridiculous statements he made:
The title "Streetcars don't boost neighborhoods"
...Really? Do you have any proof of that? I doubt it. In fact, there's a lot of evidence out there that proves the opposite is true. Streetcars DO boost neighborhoods!
"Empty all the soup kitchens and drug rehab centers, then round up all the homeless guys, panhandlers and drug dealers, and there still won't be enough riders in Over-the-Rhine to make a streetcar break even."
...Hmm, Sounds as if this guy thinks that this is all OTR has to offer. What a shame. He hasn't opened his eyes too much.
"Most in the crowd were not aboard." REALLY!?! WOW! You sure are observant. Could that be because it was a "young republicans" sponsored event? Genius.
"Being stuck in traffic behind a glorified bus on tracks that goes 10 mph is not a way to lure people downtown."
...A glorified bus? Again, these people are not using any commonsense. How many times do I have to say this? Streetcars are not buses. They are rail transit. It has been proven over and over again that rail transit is a guaranteed way to ensure neighborhood stability, promote economic development, and attract private investment (new residents) in the area surrounding the tracks.
"I don't get it. I admire Bortz for trying to do something bold and positive. But he has a long hill to climb with that electric train set."
Of course you "don't get it." You've probably never been to a city where people actually don't depend solely on SUVs for their every transport need. Open your eyes and mind! Go to New York, Chicago, Wash. DC, Portland, even Canada, and see for yourself how well good public transit works. We'll never be Manhattan, but we can easily be a minature version of it. Our city is very unique. We have a historic neighborhood unmatched by any other in the U.S. Its still set-up for rails and is perfect for the kind of development the streetcars will bring. If you don't have an interest in urban living then stay in the suburbs and vote for McCain. You won't notice whats going on downtown anyway so why do you care?
"One of the biggest potholes was pointed out by Blue Chip Young Republicans President Jeff Capell: "How do you guarantee it's not going to be another annual welfare case like the Freedom Center?" he asked."
How is that a pothole at all? Actually its pretty easy to see that this is nothing like the Freedom Center project. The Freedom Center is a museum. It was never promised to be a way to attract new residents or boost economic development. Is that form of deductive reasoning how you make all of your decisions in life? The Freedom Center is a completely unrelated problem. Just because the council made one faulty decision with a museum doesn't mean we should just scrap all of their other projects. Besides, the banks project is now underway. It took way too long to get started, but its happening now. In a few short years our riverfront will finally be able to compete with Newport's. Its easy to see that this will all be helped along greatly by a good, reliable way to get people to and from their place of work or home to a central place for entertainment.
Its time that the people of Cincinnati stop letting stagnant, suburban, conservatives run their town.